Actress in racially-charged Hoekstra ad apologizes

Racially-charged ad airs during the Super Bowl An ad for Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, depicting several Asian stereotypes, raised the ire of several advocacy groups. Hoekstra did not formally apologize for the ad, but did pull down his website depicting similar imagery. YouTube

The 21-year-old woman who appeared in a controversial political ad that was criticized for furthering "harmful negative stereotypes" of Asians has apologized for her involvement, saying she feels "horrible" for role in the ad.

"I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities," Lisa Chan said in a statement on her Facebook page. "As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions."

The ad, from Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, opens with the sound of a gong and other traditional Asian tones. Chan is shown riding a bike in what appears to be a rice field, with a straw hat on her back. Speaking in broken English, she thanks Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The ad does not directly mention China, though the spot is clearly designed to invoke that country.

"Debbie spend so much American money," says Chan, a University of California at Berkeley graduate. "You borrow more and more from us, your economy get very weak. Ours get very good." She adds with a smile on her face: "We take your jobs."

Hoekstra was criticized for the spot, which the Michigan chapter of the group Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote said is "very disturbing" for trafficking in "harmful negative stereotypes that intrinsically encourage anti-Asian sentiment."

Hoekstra defended the ad,which he said was not intended to criticize China.

"The ad is only insensitive to Debbie Stabenow and her spending," Hoekstra said, adding that "it doesn't criticize the Chinese at all."

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